Jamaican Diaspora 20 under 40: Shakira Martin: The Advocate

The Advocate

In honor of her spirit and zest for life, we plan to remember the essence of her being, and remind others of the hope she exuded on a daily basis despite her constant unbearable pain. She lived fully, loved endlessly and touched the hearts of everyone she encountered.

A graduate of Nova High School was the daughter of Alphonso Martin, former vocalist of reggae band Steele Pulse, who played percussion on the band’s successful debut album, Handsworth Revolution in 1978 and thereafter he was a key member of the band for the next seven albums. Phonso stood in as lead singer when David Hinds was unavailable. In 1991 after the release of the Victims album, he decided to pursue his business interests.

The former Miss Jamaica Universe 2011, had a lifelong dream to live an exemplary life by showing her fellow “Sicklers‟ that the disease did not master her, but that she mastered the disease.

Shakira Martin represented Jamaica in the 2011 staging of Miss Universe in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Before her reign, Shakira worked as a preschool teacher for many years, driven by her hopes to inspire the young minds of our future generations. During her reign, she had the opportunity to spread “Brand Jamaica” around the world. She modeled in Brazil, New York, Miami, Canada, Haiti, and of course Jamaica. She also appeared in many commercials for various overseas companies located in France, Mexico, and Nigeria, to name a few.

Shakira was a young, hard-working woman trying to make a difference in the lives of others. An advocate for Sickle Cell Anemia, being a ‘Sickler’ herself, though faced with challenges caused by the disease, she refused to become a victim of it. She continued to raise awareness for Sickle Cell Anemia and participated in many fundraisers and drives for the cause.

In addition to starting her own foundation, she also stood up for people of color, challenging those who once called her ‘too dark,’ saying “I had to do better in all other areas because I could not help that I was one of the darker girls. My skin tone (which I love) is mine! I can only hope that my winning was encouraging to other women who look like me. Beauty comes in ALL hues.”

Shakira was determined to see her dreams of becoming a humanitarian, role model, and inspiration to generations to come, manifest into reality. She had the soul of a warrior and the heart of an angel with a passion for people, and a vision for a better tomorrow.

The former Miss Jamaica Universe once said,

“The things that I want to accomplish, may be ‘cliche’ for a beauty queen, but those are the things that are genuinely in my heart. World peace, a solution to starvation, hugging trees and all that jazz. It’s all a part of the plan.” -Shakira Martin

 

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